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Overall Rating

Awesome: 25.64%
Worth A Look: 24.36%
Pretty Bad: 11.54%
Total Crap: 11.54%

7 reviews, 36 user ratings

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Lake House, The
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by brianorndorf

"Just lovely all around. A quiet summer diversion."
5 stars

“The Lake House” is summer movie counter programming at its finest. A sweet, softly made, gentle romantic fantasy, the film benefits from two lead talents that look like they’re enjoying themselves, and a director who isn’t afraid to stand back and let the velvety movement of unrequited love lead the way. It’s a terrific romantic diversion from all the leaping Nachos and drifting toy cars this weekend.

Kate (Sandra Bullock) is a lonesome doctor giving up her lake house for a hectic downtown Chicago hospital job. Alex (Keanu Reeves) is a burnt-out architect moving into the same house to wrestle with his past. Finding a peculiar instructional letter from Kate in the house, Alex sends a reply only to discover their distance isn’t in miles but years. Using the lake house mailbox as their way to connect through two years of separation, Alex (in 2004) and Kate (in 2006) write each other daily, expressing romantic aspirations and remembering their tragedies, hopeful one day to meet, but unsure how to orchestrate such a moment.

In a summer of impossible missions, supermen, and 9/11 dramatizations (August’s “World Trade Center”), “The Lake House” has the audacity to try and achieve a tranquil tone, free of bombast or visual clutter. Released in June, right before the commencement of a second round of sloppy summer entertainment, you could consider “Lake House” a blissful sorbet before the onslaught of cinematic havoc starts up again.

A remake of the 2000 Korean film “Il Mare,” Hollywood has taken a modest, gentle import and bestowed two huge stars upon it to fatten up the profits. Interestingly though, “Lake House” marks the reunion of Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, who last starred together in the crown jewel of 90s action films, the watertight bomb-on-a-bus thriller, “Speed.”

Reeves and Bullock are the driving force behind the dreamy allure of “Lake House.” The actors share a sincere intimacy that fits the material like a warm comforter, making the picture feel tailor made for the two of them. The duo sell the fanciful ambition of the story without ever winking or pushing, and the film allows the actors to play against the harsh roles they’ve been selecting for years now. It’s a bolt of lightning to see Bullock’s volume turned down for once, revealing the disarming talent that was lost long ago in her fight to be accepted as a comedy queen. Both actors are marvelous here as lovers struggling with a peculiar loophole in fate.

Argentinean director Alejandro Agresti, making his English language debut, approaches “Lake House” with the intent of setting a soft mood that helps in swallowing the fantasy angle to this story. It’s remarkable that I never once questioned the plot holes or recoiled at the sometimes broad, theatrical acting. Agresti’s direction casts a golden glow on the plot, paced deliberately like a Norah Jones B-side, and accomplished with almost retro usage of long takes, zooms, and master shots. “Lake House” is hazy, low-tech romantic filmmaking, and its no shove policy is exactly why it works so well. Agresti is not pushing you to fall in love with this movie; he just wants you to believe in it.

The screenplay by David Auburn (“Proof”) is sublime in the ways it interconnects the characters blocked by two years of distance (at times it feels like less zany “Back to the Future” sequel), and gives them a life outside of their romantic sulk. “Lake House” includes parental figures for both Kate and Alex, inserted here to convey the depth of their need for this magical connection to be real; however, I’ve little doubt that Christopher Plummer’s expectedly showboat performance as Alex’s architect snob father will be a slam-on-the-brakes character for many audience members. It’s the one element that gets away from the filmmakers and circles senseless indulgence. For one scene, it’s a supreme pain, but it quickly subsides and “Lake House” gets back on track.

So leisurely and lovely is “Lake House,” it feels a shame it has to end; that there must be an earthbound conclusion to it all, tied up in a neat bow.

Floating in the warm waters of forbidden love, near misses, and heartache for 95 gentle minutes, it must come to a close, and mercifully Agresti sustains his film’s tone with a climax that won’t blow minds, but, at the same time, doesn’t knock down this cinematic house of cards.

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originally posted: 06/16/06 14:46:58
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User Comments

9/09/19 Kickin it So much better than Speed! 5 stars
2/13/11 hbotis confused even after second viewing but this is one hidden movie classic- a beauty 5 stars
1/13/10 steve this guy needed kleenex at the end of this one 5 stars
10/05/09 the dork knight Keanu's Zen-like calm never wavers. Good cameo by Plummer 3 stars
12/23/08 Charlene Such a charming movie and Keanu/Sandra were perfect. Jack is adorable! 4 stars
10/31/08 Shaun Wallner Great story! 3 stars
9/18/08 Abi what a romantic and beautiful story! - belief is forever - no border of time 5 stars
1/26/08 Pamela White Could have used a little help with the plot timing 3 stars
8/13/07 Annonomiss Suspend your disbelief and go see this one! Timetravel supernatural elements-intriquing. 4 stars
8/05/07 Cherish Forget about the logic. It's a romantic fantasy and I love it. Love Keanu and Sandra. 5 stars
7/07/07 AnnieG Much much better than I expected from reviews! 3 stars
5/17/07 ES ooo the magic mailbox, sorry not feeling it 2 stars
4/26/07 marshall The quest for & belief in "the one" is a reality. Minus the causality issue, i can relate. 5 stars
4/04/07 Shinde Wonderful movie, made me on the edge of my seat the whole time. 4 stars
1/26/07 alice U liked it, just average but liked it. 3 stars
12/29/06 Kimberly I thought this was a boring movie also. I was very upset with this movie 2 stars
12/18/06 Mockingbird I've lost all respect for you EricDSnider, no wonder you had to see the movie with your sis 1 stars
12/07/06 JULES get confused trying to connect every scenario,(& yes the fakest sneeze ever) but romantic.. 4 stars
11/04/06 marlee i loved this movie. it was beautiful 5 stars
11/02/06 Irina i've watched it 4 times over the last 2 days! 5 stars
10/12/06 Danny OMG, how boring! 2 good actors totally wasted. I found it hard to stay awake. 1 stars
10/12/06 Megan What is the book she reads in the movie? 3 stars
9/30/06 thaMASTAH The movie was okay. It could've been better though. 3 stars
9/25/06 christine mae its so very nice!!!!cge lng ug kisskiss 3 stars
9/07/06 Stephanie Throckmorton Wildly bizarre for little other reason than making feelgood end more refreshing than cliche 3 stars
8/01/06 kaz beautiful and moving.. 5 stars
7/21/06 jcjs inane, yet for 'dreamers' speaking to the core of 'love' , 'beauty' , 'significance', 'art' 5 stars
6/24/06 JUDE ll also be a great video to watch in yor bathrobe 4 stars
6/23/06 barbara a great oldfashioned capra type - have keanu and sandy play in a remake of random harvest 4 stars
6/23/06 docmoreau I am not an objective film reviewer. This film was shot in and around Chicago, my hometown 5 stars
6/22/06 kathy kaufman lovely movie; gentle and evenly paced, with a fun mystery to it. enjoyed the soundtrack 4 stars
6/20/06 NH It works for me! 5 stars
6/20/06 Debbie Borders Loved It!! 5 stars
6/17/06 bobbi The movie goer's conversation in the seat next to me was more interesting than this movie 1 stars
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  16-Jun-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 26-Sep-2006



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